November 10, 2010
Personal Encounter Paper
My experience started out pretty bad while trying to attend the Volusia Buddhist Fellowship ceremony. First of all Diego and I went to the Volusia ceremony only to find out that the place of worship was bought over by a Christian group, so there were no Buddhist worships going on at that site anymore. This was very surprising to me because I called the Fellowship just the day before to make sure I had got the proper information before hand, and they said nothing about there site being changed or bought over by another organization. Furthermore Diego and I finally found out where the new site was, after about 30 minutes of driving in vane pondering on what our next move should be. It was ironic to see that less than five minutes down the road from the Christian gathering was the Buddhist ceremony both we two different perspectives an beliefs in its entirety. We pulled up to a destitute dark white building. We looked at each other in disbelief because we did not think that this was the right place. If it was not for the sign reading “The first Unitarian Universalist Church” in the front we probably would have gave up on our search for this service. The parking lot was full of cars, but when we looked at the building there was no sign of human life or anything. All the windows were painted with some type of dark red paint which blocked outside viewers from seeing inside. We walked around each door trying to open it but each door was closed. We finally came up upon the door where we seen shoes that were laid across the door mat. We pried open the door to find a group of like ten people in meditation. We quietly and calmly took off our shoes, found the nearest open chairs, and awkwardly joined in the meditation ceremony.
This was very different from me because my family is predominately Christian, and I was used to praying and worshiping to a higher deity. In Buddhism it is totally different you come to worship and meditation in order to make your self more aware of your well being, try to end suffering in your mind, and to let things go that do not really matter. When meditating the head minister Sakyo told us to help in mediation to first try to listen to your breathing. He was able to help us through the mediation because this time it was a guided meditation ceremony. He stated that while meditating you should always have a good mental state and when you reach this you should cultivate it and rid of anger or any negative things that pop up. He rang a bell on the floor signifying that the twenty minute meditation was over. This is when we were able to converse with one and another and we were able to ask him questions about this unfamiliar practice that we had just participated in.
When I was able to open my eyes and the lights were put on this is when I was able to observe my surroundings. The first thing that was poignant to me was how herbal the room smelt it gave the room sense of purification. At the head of the table there was a statue of the Buddhism. Sakyo said that this was put here to remind us of the possibility of what could happen if you put the right time in and right devotion into become enlightened, like the Buddha did. The other significant instruments on the table were one incent and three candles. In other ceremonies there are usually one candle and three incents, but due to the small area three incents would have been strong. The candle is a representation of the enlightenment. The three incents represents the Buddha, Dharma, and the Sangha. The incents also have a greater meaning that was explained by Sakyo. Each ceremony random volunteer brings in the incent signifying an act of generosity to the gathering. The head minister Sakyo had one of the calmest, cool, and collective demeanors I have ever encountered. When he would talk it was like nothing seemed to bother him, everything seemed...